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Category: Publications: Engineer Research & Development Center (ERDC)
  • Multiscale Observation Product (MOP) for Temporal Flood Inundation Mapping of the 2015 Dallas Texas Flood

    Abstract: This paper presents a new data fusion multiscale observation product (MOP) for flood emergencies. The MOP was created by integrating multiple sources of contributed open-source data with traditional spaceborne remote sensing imagery to provide a sequence of high spatial and temporal resolution flood inundation maps. The study focuses on the 2015 Memorial Day floods that caused up to US$61 million of damage. The Hydraulic Engineering Center River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model was used to simulate water surfaces for the northern part of the Trinity River in Dallas, using reservoir surcharge releases and topographic data provided by the US Army Corps of Engineers. A measure of fit assessment is performed on the MOP flood maps with the HEC-RAS simulated flood inundation output to quantify spatial differences. Estimating possible flood inundation using individual datasets that vary spatially and temporally allow an understanding of how much each observational dataset contributes to the overall water estimation. Results show that water surfaces estimated by MOP are comparable with the simulated output for the duration of the flood event. Additionally, contributed data, such as Civil Air Patrol, although they may be geographically sparse, become an important data source when fused with other observation data.
  • Observations of Beach Change and Runup, and the Performance of Empirical Runup Parameterizations during Large Storm Events

    Abstract: Timeseries observations of beach elevation change and wave runup from a tower-mounted stationary lidar assess the skill of 2% runup exceedance (𝑅2%) estimates during four storm events at Duck, NC. The runup parameterization requires the foreshore beach slope, which generally unknown during high energy events. Pre-storm estimates are often used as a proxy. 𝑅2% hindcasts use the observed time-varying beach slope and a static pre-storm beach profile, yielding an 𝑅2% skill of 0.57. The skill drops to −1.0 using seasonal mean beach slopes and reduces after the peak of two storms with the appearance of beach cusps in the swash zone morphology. One storm’s runup is underpredicted by up to 1.0 m at high tides following the storm peak when cusps are present Additional pre- and post-storm mobile lidar surveys for one storm confirm ubiquitous small-scale beach cusps along 8 km of the local shoreline. The results suggest skillful runup estimates are often attainable given the availability of beach information before a storm. The parameterization errors increase when beach cusps develop, highlighting the need to extend standard one-dimensional runup parameterizations to account for two-dimensional effects.
  • Spatial Variations in Vegetation Fires and Emissions in South and Southeast Asia during COVID-19 and Pre-pandemic

    Abstract: Vegetation fires are common in South/Southeast Asian (SA/SEA) countries. However, few studies focused on vegetation fires and the changes during COVID compared to pre pandemic. This study fills an information gap and reports total fire incidences, total burnt area, type of vegetation burnt, and total particulate matter emission variations. Results from the short term 2020 COVID versus 2019 non COVID year showed a decline in fire counts varying from -2.88 to 79.43%. The exceptions in South Asia include Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, and Cambodia and Myanmar in Southeast Asia. The burnt area decline for 2020 compared to 2019 varied from -0.8% to 92% for South/Southeast Asian countries, with most burning in agricultural landscapes than forests. Several patches in S/SEA showed a decrease in fires for the 2020 pandemic year compared to long term 2012–2020 pre pandemic record, with Z scores greater or less than two denoting statistical significance. However, on a country scale, the results were not statistically significant in both S/SEA, with Z scores ranging from -0.24 to -1, although most countries experienced a decrease in fire counts. The study highlights variations in fires and emissions useful for fire management and mitigation.
  • Materials and Methods Used for the Expedient Repair of Concrete Pavements

    Abstract: Many traditional methods for the repair and rehabilitation of concrete pavements require meticulous construction processes with specialized equipment and long material curing periods in order to develop adequate strength and durability prior to returning the pavement to service. This paper summarizes the results of research projects conducted by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center in order to develop innovative pavement repair procedures and evaluate numerous commercial repair materials that can produce fast long-lasting repairs that facilitate the rapid re-opening of critical pavement infrastructure to traffic. This paper summarizes methods used for the certification and selection of suitable concrete pavement repair materials. In addition, this paper outlines the key activities included in expedient concrete repair processes. Thus, this paper provides a valuable summary of state-of-the-art concrete repair procedures and materials for the rapid and effective repair and rehabilitation of concrete pavements.
  • Initial Rearing, Release, and Establishment of Biological Control Agent Pseudophilothrips ichini to Control Brazilian Peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia) in South Texas Ecosystem Restoration Projects

    Abstract: Control of the invasive Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia) is a major cost component of US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) ecosystem restoration (ER) projects in South Texas, specifically the USACE Galveston district (SWG) Resacas at Brownsville, Texas, ER Project. Biological control has been developed as a sustainable tool to lower long-term weed management costs. Although a biological control program for S. terebinthifolia has been in operation in Florida since 2019, no similar program existed in Texas until initiated by the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in 2020. Since 2021, the biological control agent Pseudophilothrips ichini has been reared at ERDC. This technical report details rearing, release, and establishment efforts from fall 2020 to spring 2023 to provide control of S. terebinthifolia in South Texas USACE ER project locations. Initial observations on impact and potential limitations to biological control in hot climates such as those of South Texas are also discussed.
  • Application of Coastal Resilience Metrics at Panama City Beach, Florida

    Abstract: This study, for the first time, combines the Coastal Engineering Resilience Index (CERI) and Buffer Width (BW) metrics to better understand the historic, current, and future resilience of the coastal system at Panama City Beach, Florida. After the construction of the US Army Corps of Engineers Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) project at Panama City Beach, the CERI resilience metric has increased up to 21.3%, while negative storm impacts in the same have been less than 8%. The frequency of nourishment efforts moving forward is justified by a 24.3% increase in the BW metric when comparing cases that are nourished frequently with cases that are not nourished frequently. Moreover, there is a 129.2% increase in the BW metric when comparing the frequently nourished cases with the cases that are nourished only on an emergency basis. While the CERI and BW metrics have both been considered previously, their combined application provides an understanding of a broader temporal view of how storm events, CSRM projects, and nourishments have played a part in the resilience of the system at Panama City Beach over the last two decades and how they may play a role in the next half century.
  • Quantifying Coastal Evolution and Project Performance at Beaches by Using Satellite Imagery

    Abstract: Accurately delineating the shoreline is crucial for tracking coastal evolution, community vulnerability, storm impacts, and for coastal management decision-making. However, existing shoreline measurement methods are often time-consuming and expensive and therefore, USACE Districts are often forced to narrow areas of interest or monitoring frequency, decreasing the likelihood of making data-driven management decisions, especially over regional scales. In the last decade, space-borne earth observations have captured images subweekly, and can potentially be used for shoreline monitoring. This work investigated the Python-based CoastSat toolkit and compared the shorelines derived from publicly available satellite imagery to ground truth surveys at 37 sites across the nation chosen in coordination with Districts. Mean horizontal errors ranged from 4.21 to 20.58 m with an overall mean of 11.32 m. Tidal corrections improved accuracies at 82% of sites. The CoastSat slope function was tested and there were negligible differences in shoreline accuracy when compared with user-defined slopes Twenty-year satellite-derived trends generally align well with ground truth trends. The satellite approach identified quantifying storm impacts/recovery, beach nourishment equilibration, diffusion and decay, shoreline response to nearshore berm placements and decadal shoreline evolution at the evaluated district sites. Work is ongoing to transition to a user-friendly software tool.
  • Expeditionary Ground Rehabilitation for Military-Vehicle Traffic

    Abstract: The research objective for this study is to identify and evaluate techniques for soil stabilization to support military-vehicle ground maneuver in contested environments. Various types of stabilizers mixed with silty sand are evaluated in the laboratory for their compressive strength at various soil moisture contents and in the field for their rutting performance. Field data are analyzed for the ability to withstand trafficking from a military ground vehicle by evaluating the rut depth and measured instrumentation data. The field testing shows that the rapid soil stabilization materials and techniques can produce repairs that withstand required traffic without traditional pavement surface materials.
  • Post-wildfire Curve Number Estimates for the Southern Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA

    Abstract: The curve number method first developed by the USDA Soil Conservation Service (now the Natural Resources Conservation Service) is often used for post-wildfire runoff assessments. These assessments are critical for land and emergency managers making decisions on life and property risks following a wildfire event. Three approaches (i.e., historical event observations, linear regression model, and regression tree model) were used to help estimate a post-wildfire curve number from watershed and wildfire parameters. For the first method, we used runoff events from 102 burned watersheds in Colorado, southern Wyoming, northern New Mexico, and eastern Utah to quantify changes in curve number values from pre- to post-wildfire conditions. The curve number changes from the measured runoff events vary substantially between positive and negative values. The measured curve number changes were then associated with watershed characteristics (e.g., slope, elevation, northness, and eastness) and land cover type to develop prediction models that provide estimates of post-wildfire curve number changes. Finally, we used a regression tree method to demonstrate that accurate predications can be developed using the measured curve number changes from our study domain. These models can be used for future post-wildfire assessments within the region.
  • Porosity Measurement Device Design and Analysis

    Abstract: Porosity measurements are necessary to fully characterize the acoustic properties of a porous material. Many methods exist to measure porosity with various limitations. This report details a system based on previous work to limit environmental effects on measurements.